On the Scene at NCOF: There’s Always Room for Improvement

Dallas—What’s the biggest room in the world? Room for improvement.

That sums up the presentation given by Michael Wohlwend, practice manager at St. Charles, IL-based consultancy Esync International, here on May 7 at the 11th Annual National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment. No matter how efficient your operations, he said, they could no doubt be better.

One of the more commonly overlooked causes of inefficiency is a lack of space to receive shipments. Wohlwend said a good rule of thumb is to have two trailer loads of space per dock door to allow for enough space to load and unload shipments safely. In fact, most accidents occur on the docks, he added.

. Wohlwend also spoke about the need to implement ABC slotting: putting your fastest-moving merchandise closest to the packing station. According to the Warehousing and Education Research Council, 50% of a picker’s time is spent in transit—highly efficient.

Empowering warehouse employees, training them on best practices, and giving them positive feedback are relatively simple and inexpensive ways to increase efficiency, Wohlwend said. Rather than order employees to “just do it,” he recommended posting your company’s key warehouse metrics and goals—for instance, the number of orders you want the warehouse to ship in a week—so that the staff can gauge their performance and feel part of the team.

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